Commissioner's Directive

Number - Numéro: 720



Issued under the authority of the Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada


Policy Bulletin 236

Annex A - Guidelines for Custom Work in Vocational Education Programs


  1. To assist offenders to reintegrate into the community as law-abiding citizens by increasing education levels through the provision of provincially accredited or certified programs.
  2. To provide appropriate library services similar to those in the community, while taking into consideration the requirements of the correctional environment.


  1. Section 3, paragraph 5 (b) and sections  76, 77, 79 and 80 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and section  102 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Regulations.


  1. CD 700 - Correctional Interventions
    CD 702 - Aboriginal Programming
    CD 705-5 - Supplementary Intake Assessments
    CD 705-6 - Correctional Planning and Criminal Profile
    CD 726 - Correctional Programs
    CD 726-1 - Standards for Correctional Programs
    CD 730 - Inmate Program Assignment and Payments
    CD 764 - Access to Material and Live Entertainment
    CD 767 - Ethnocultural Offender Programs


  1. Regional Administrators, Reintegration and Programs are responsible for:
    1. ensuring that academic and vocational education programs are managed for the region by CSC education specialists;
    2. establishing and maintaining effective relations with provincial education authorities; and
    3. providing an annual education program plan to National Headquarters.
  1. The Institutional Head is responsible for:
    1. ensuring that all teachers, whether contracted or CSC staff, as well as volunteer tutors, receive orientation and other training with respect to skills specific to CSC that will benefit them in the performance of their work with offenders;
    2. ensuring that education programs are delivered by teachers certified by the province in which they teach;
    3. ensuring that the provision of educational programs is based on offenders' educational needs as prescribed in their Correctional Plan; and
    4. ensuring the provision of appropriately equipped classrooms for educational use.
  2. The Correctional Planning Board will determine the appropriateness of education referrals, assign offenders to the appropriate education program, complete Offender Management System (OMS) assignments or waitlists accordingly and ensure that all data are recorded in CSC's corporate data entry systems (e.g., HRMS, IFMMS, OMS).
  3. The Co-Chairs of the Correctional Planning Board have the responsibility to ensure the provision of appropriate educational interventions for offenders with special educational needs, including potential learning disabilities.


  1. Recognizing the community's expectation of grade 12 as the completion of secondary education, the Adult Basic Education program will include a High School Diploma or its equivalents: GED; Secondaire V, D.E.S., D.E.S.+ or D.E.P. in Quebec; Dogwood Certificate in British Columbia.


  1. Education programming for offenders builds capacity for lasting personal change, reduces the risk of re-offending and increases the potential for successful reintegration.
  2. Through participating in education programs, offenders gain learning skills in order to become effective and efficient lifelong learners, and successfully master the content of the curriculum.
  3. Knowledge about and the ability to use computers and information technology is an important component of living in modern society and will be encouraged and enhanced through the education programs.
  4. A functional literacy level of grade 8 or equivalent is the foundation for meaningful participation in other programs.


  1. An offender's functional grade or achievement level will be determined during the Offender Intake Assessment process, unless formal recognition showing completion of grade 12 as defined in paragraph 9 is available. Exceptions will be made in cases where recent public education system certification identifies the current functioning grade level.
  2. Individual education planning and counseling will be initiated at intake and will take into consideration the results of all educational assessments, including screening for potential learning disabilities and employment needs. Aptitude and interest testing for employment will be conducted when criteria are met.
  3. The outcomes of all educational and employment assessments and/or file documents are entered into the OMS.
  4. When an offender's grade level is below grade 12 or its equivalent, education will be a program requirement of his or her Correctional Plan. Offenders will be actively encouraged to participate in institutional or community education programs which meet their identified needs.
  5. While respecting the Principles section of this CD, and notwithstanding paragraph 17, there may exist situations where the participation of the offender in education may not be suitable. For considerations such as length of sentence, conflicting priorities based on criminogenic needs, and/or advanced age, the Parole Officer will identify education as a need but the referral may not be created in OMS. Rationale must be clearly described in the Correctional Plan.


  1. The approaches used in education programs will include aboriginal, multicultural and gender competency considerations (e.g., methods and styles of learning) and will also address the specific needs of those identified as having potential learning disabilities, low cognitive functioning or physical disabilities.


  1. The education process will include the following:
    1. a review of the initial education related assessments;
    2. career counseling;
    3. individual education planning;
    4. the delivery of correctional education programs;
    5. ongoing assessment of progress;
    6. reporting.
  2. Education programs, including Adult Basic Education and vocational education programs, will meet the identified educational needs of offenders and lead to formal recognition, certification or accreditation from an educational authority recognized by the province or territory in which the program is being delivered.
  3. All individual education program plans, assessment reports, progress reports, course completions, certificates, diplomas or other forms of recognition of successful achievement are entered into the OMS. Hard copies of all documentation will be placed into the offender's Education and Training file.
  4. The offender will be provided the original of any diplomas and certificates earned at the time of their completion. Copies will be maintained in accordance with the Offender Records System (Education and Training file). The Education and Training file should follow the inmate when he or she is transferred to another institution. When the offender is released to the community, he or she can obtain an additional copy from the releasing institution or the appropriate Ministry of Education.


  1. Adult Basic Education programming (grade 1 to 12 or its equivalent) is CSC's education priority and will be available at all institutions on a 12-month continuous intake basis. The program will be offered to those offenders who have education in their Correctional Plan or who require upgrading of skills as a pre-requisite to other continuing education or reintegration programs.


  1. Vocational education programs will facilitate the offender's reintegration and prepare him or her for employment or further vocational education training in the community. Vocational education programs will also provide offenders with marketable work skills for employment with institutional work programs and CORCAN.
  2. Decisions regarding available vocational education courses or 3rd party certifications will take into account the following:
    1. profile of offenders' interests and aptitudes;
    2. institutional needs;
    3. CORCAN training opportunities;
    4. short term modularized programs;
    5. third party recognition; and
    6. labour market conditions and realities.
  3. To be eligible to participate in a vocational program, the offender will have completed or be in the process of completing provincially determined academic prerequisites.
  4. Vocational education programs may include custom work. Custom work is defined as the production of goods or rendering of service(s) in response to a specific customer order, normally of a non-recurring nature, in institutional vocational workshops as part of an institutional vocational education program.
  5. Where custom work exists, work will be in accordance or conform with the provincial education curriculum and meet the training needs of offenders. Regulations concerning custom work will ensure accordance with the Treasury Board Values and Ethics Code.


  1. Offenders are required to pay the cost of their participation in post-secondary education programs, unless any such participation is included as part of a larger federal/provincial arrangement to provide required education services.
  2. Where warranted, the Institutional Head may approve an exception if all the following criteria are met:
    1. the payment for participation of the offender is within the educational budgetary limits;
    2. the offender meets all criteria for post-secondary education as established by the applicable Ministry of Education or any other educational organization recognized by the Ministry;
    3. the past educational record of the offender regarding completion of courses is considered satisfactory by the institution;
    4. the course is considered as a priority in the Correctional Plan; and
    5. the course is from a recognized and accredited provincial education organization.


  1. All contractors and CSC staff members who offer education programs and services will maintain linkages with case management staff and provide them with an analysis of the offender's participation and progress in their education program, at least every three months for the purposes of inmate pay reviews and, as required, for case conferences.
  2. At the completion of an offender's education program, a final education program report will be completed by the teacher, whether contracted or CSC staff, and recorded in the OMS.
  3. Continuity in all educational programming is critical to the completion of the education portion of the offender's Correctional Plan. It will, therefore, be facilitated between institutions/healing lodges and from the institutions/healing lodges to the community.


  1. 35. Libraries are information centres that support all institutional programs and address offenders' needs for recreational, cultural, spiritual, educational and informative materials. In addition, libraries will provide the opportunity to educate offenders in the full use of library resources.
  2. 36. The Institutional Head will ensure that the library provides services and computerized resources which are comparable to those in the community libraries, while taking into consideration both the needs of the correctional environment and the limitations of the physical space available. The Institutional Head should also ensure that the library has sufficient books and material to meet the basic needs of minority official language inmates. Inter-library loans with community libraries should be encouraged where possible.
  3. 37. The institutional librarian will ensure that the institution's library has available historical and current copies of legal, regulatory and official reference materials as listed below (these may be available in hard copy or via the library CD-ROM provided by National Headquarters):
    1. Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;
    2. Corrections and Conditional Release Act and Regulations;
    3. International Transfer of Offenders Act;
    4. Criminal Code of Canada;
    5. Canadian Human Rights Act;
    6. Access to Information Act and appropriate access request forms;
    7. Privacy Act and appropriate access request forms;
    8. Official Languages Act;
    9. Standard Operating Practices, except those SOPs or parts thereof related to security matters;
    10. Commissioner's Directives;
    11. the Standing Orders for that institution, except those orders or parts thereof related to security matters;
    12. National Parole Board Policy Manual; and
    13. Info Source.
  4. 38. The institutional librarian will make reasonable efforts to arrange for offenders to have access to other relevant publications produced by the CSC regarding its programs and services for offenders.


Original signed by :

Keith Coulter



  1. These guidelines, which are an information supplement to Commissioner's Directive 720 - Education Programs and Services for Offenders, outline the procedure to be followed in connection with custom work in vocational education programs.


  1. No custom work in vocational shops will be started until a requisition form submitted by the purchaser has been approved by the Institutional Head or his or her delegate and the customer has approved the pricing of the custom work.
  2. All those who make a request for custom work, whether individually or for an organization, will agree in writing on an approved requisition form to the conditions related to custom work from vocational shops. This includes the absolving of the Correctional Service of Canada of any responsibility for the quality of the product(s) manufactured and service(s) rendered, and a declaration that the custom work will not subsequently be resold.
  3. Custom work for staff will only be performed by offenders who have signed a consent form which states: "I, the undersigned, having been informed that no offender will be required to work for the personal benefit of any private person, do hereby consent to perform custom work for staff."


  1. The CSC will obtain a written waiver from the owner of private goods stating that any private good taken into an institution in connection with custom work for vocational shops, will be entirely at the owner's risk.
  2. In addition, the written waiver will state that the CSC will not be responsible for any loss or damage that may occur while such private property is in the institution. This condition will apply whether the loss or damage was caused by a wilful or negligent act or omission, or due to any other cause.


  1. Costing for custom work for vocational shops, and the supply of materials, will be established and outlined on the approved work order.
  2. Pricing of custom work for vocational shops will include:
    1. the CSC's cost for all materials consumed;
    2. a handling charge of 10% or the outside (community) rate, whichever is the lowest, of the cost of all materials, which will also apply to any materials supplied by customers who will provide invoices in support thereof;
    3. a labour charge per hour at the current provincial minimum wage; and
    4. all applicable taxes.
  3. The Institutional Head may authorize that the number of hours charged to a work order for labour be in accordance with norms established in the community.
  4. A deposit may be required to purchase all or part of the necessary materials.


  1. Institutions will maintain an internal control process including a record of the following:
    1. all vocational shop custom work requests;
    2. all custom work accepted;
    3. the dates of authorization and completion of the work; and
    4. all costs and payments for the products produced or services rendered.
  2. nstitutions will ensure adequate collection of all accounts for custom work.
  3. Offenders working on custom work in vocational shops will be paid in accordance with the national inmate pay system.
  4. The Institutional Head will establish Institutional Standing Orders outlining the procedures and conditions under which custom work is to be performed in the vocational shops.
  5. The Standing Orders will include procedures on the disposition of completed custom work whether by sale or donation to charitable, non-profit, religious or spiritual organizations, institutions, or by sale to staff, disposal of Crown assets, or destruction.


  1. The Regional Administrator or his or her delegate will establish a regional monitoring system to ensure that these guidelines are followed.